Achieve the look you want with a softer and more healthy tan.

Finally, summer is here! Time to break out your bathing suits and become the sun goddess you’ve been longing to be all winter long. But wait. As much as vitamin D from the sun is healthy — it is good for bones, teeth, skin, hair and nails? After all, how much sun do you really actually need? And how much is too much? We know you don’t want to be covered up in pants and long-sleeved shirts at the beach. Is there a way to get a healthy tan? We suggest the rule of moderation. And yes, you’ll still have a nice tan, but it won’t be painful, too dark, or damaging. Here are some tips on how to get and maintain a healthy tan.

No need to fret this summer about skin damage.

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Apply the right sunscreen

There are two types of damaging UV rays: UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen, and don’t only pay attention to the SPF number. For extra protection, use sunscreen containing zinc and titanium dioxide. Sunscreen without those ingredients, while still offering protection, will not last as long when you get wet and will just need to be reapplied more often. SPF 30 or above is sufficient. For people with dark skin, SPF 15 will do the trick.

It's all about timing

Believe it or not, your skin will reach a point where it no longer produces melanin (the tanning pigment), so there’s really no need to sit out by the pool all day — for most people, that is two to three hours. Also, it’s important to note that the sun is the hottest between about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so you should be extra cautious during those times and take regular breaks. Seek shade every now and then and cover up! During the peak time of day, it is important to reapply sunscreen every two hours, whether you swim or not.

You are what you eat

Bet you didn’t know that there’s a supplement that can actually improve the production of melanin. Well, guess what? There is! It’s called beta-carotene and the recommended amount is 25g daily. Beta-carotene will help boost skin’s natural defense against harmful UV rays and improve the ability to tan. There are also certain foods that increase lycopene (the skin’s natural SPF), so be sure to stock up on red and orange fruits and vegetables. And, good news! Dark chocolate can also help protect against sunburn, and caffeine may help to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Indulge in some dark chocolate and coffee before you hit the beach.

It’s hard to avoid sun exposure in the summer, but it’s important to limit it. A healthy tan is within reach with some precautions. Take sun damage seriously, as too much can lead to skin cancer. A sun-kissed glow may look nice during the summer months, but it is, in fact, damaging your skin.

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